Leading Growth in the Digital Age – a Cross-Sector Perspective and Call for Action

Andrew Rutsch

Andrew Rutsch is engaged in research and advisory on how enterprises and ventures become value creation champions. He received his Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, US, at the intersection of economic and neuro sciences. He is based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Andrew Rutsch explains how companies can prosper in the digital age.

The digital age has arrived. Massive public and private investments into IT infrastructure now allow doing things not possible a few years ago.

Positively, entrepreneurs can tap thousands of people to take their new businesses off the ground through crowd funding. Negatively, terrorists can build a bomb with a plan and ingredients sourced online and deploy it with the help of supporters found on Facebook. Even if this is already a major shift, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Principal Research Scientist, Andy McAfee, argues that “we haven’t seen anything yet” and that the impact of digital technology on our economy will be transformational.

In a three-year study with Capgemini Consulting on the impact of digital technologies on over 400 companies worldwide, they found that 2006 marked the start of a new phase with an explosion of new media, the arrival of smart phones and tablets, computers driving cars and humanoid robots in factories – all expected to drive further acceleration (Figure 1).

So how are we dealing with this unprecedented level of change – are we falling victim or are we taking advantage of it?

The EFMD CLIP Sharing Best Practice Workshop hosted by French IT services group Capgemini on 17 October 2014 near Paris, France, brought senior managers together from a variety of sectors tasked with people and management development at its state-of-the-art Les Fontaines Campus. The objective was to engage on and work out a collective view on how to increase the capacity of the corporate learning function to address major business issues in the digital age. Best practices where showcased by Capgemini, Siemens, Santander Group and salesforce.com.

What we can learn from digitally advanced organisations

Insights from the study by Capgemini Consulting and MIT on the impact of digital technologies helped set the scene for the workshop and its objective. According to the study, most large enterprises are taking action but few are capturing real business benefits. Those that do have a “digital advantage” – called Digital Masters – by mastering the “what” and the “how” of Digital Transformation to drive increased profitability and growth.

  • Digital capability, the “what”, ie technology-enabled initiatives to improve customer engagement and internal operations or reinvent business models
  • Leadership capability, the “how”, ie capabilities including vision, governance, organisational engagement and business-IT relations

More specifically, the study found that Digital Masters outperformed average industry performance by 9% on revenue generation efficiency and by 26% on profitability.

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